Home > Biography, EP Books, Reviews > Samuel Rutherford by Richard M. Hannula

Samuel Rutherford by Richard M. Hannula


Samuel Rutherford was 36 years old when he was exiled to Aberdeen, feeling that he was ‘an outcast and withered tree.’ He had served the little church at Anwoth in Galloway faithfully, but in those August days of 1636 he seems to have felt for a while that his useful service was over.

Little could he have known that his exile would end in less than two years when Scotland rose up to resist the king’s domination of the church. He could hardly have imagined that he would serve a key role in reasserting biblical doctrine, worship and government to the Scottish church. He would also play an important part in the Westminster Assembly, defining Christian doctrine for much of the English-speaking world for centuries to come, and nearly two dozen influential books would flow from his pen, winning the admiration of the Reformed churches of Britain and the Continent. He would even have the most prestigious universities in the Netherlands and Scotland clamor to have him fill their chairs of divinity, and as a professor of theology, he would mold the minds of a generation of Scottish pastors and theologians

Alexander Whyte wrote, “No man of his age in broad Scotland stood higher as a scholar, a theologian, a controversialist, a preacher and a very saint than Samuel Rutherford.”

Nor could Rutherford have envisioned in his wildest dreams that a collection of letters that he sent to friends from his exile in Aberdeen would rank among the most beloved Christian classics, a timeless source of spiritual inspiration to millions of readers. (From the Publisher’s Website)



“In 1857, Anne Cousins wove phrases from his letters into a hymn called ‘The Sands of Time Are Sinking’. The first stanza summerized Rutherford’s lifelong goal to fulfill the admonition that Paul gave to the Colossians: ‘Set your minds on things above.’

The sands of time are sinking,

The dawn of heaven breaks,

The summer morn I’ve sighed for,

The fair sweet morn awakes;

Dark, dark hath been the midnight,

But dayspring is at hand,

And glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land.

(From Chapter 9, Pages 137-138)



Before I read this book, I knew very little about Samuel Rutherford. I had read some of his letters. I knew that there was a hymn written using lines from some of his letters. And I knew he was Scottish. So I came to this book with an open and hungry mind.

Mr. Hannula has taught me much about this man of God. He taught me that Samuel Rutherford was a man that took seriously his calling to preach. He taught me that Rutherford loved his congregation above his own comfort or fame. He also taught me how instrumental this man was in shaping Scottish as well as English spirituality. Rutherford was present and active in the Westminster Assembly. I even learned how this humble man endured trials such as: the death of a wife and children, persecution, and the inability to carry out the ministry that he believed he was called to. This is done by weaving Rutherford’s story with the history of his times often using Rutherford’s own words. Hannula even shows us the extent of Rutherford’s influence through the reactions of his enemies. Samuel Rutherford exemplifies the philosophy of never letting your critics dictate your mission. Rutherford though loyal to king and country was ultimately under the rule of the true Sovereign to whom all kings owe their position and will one day bow the knee: King Jesus.

Through the life of Rutherford I have learned to love Christ more passionately, do the work he has called me to more urgently, and to endure the trials God allows in my life with more humility. I have been immeasurably blessed through the reading of this book. I hope to read more in this series. I would like to thank EP Books for publishing this series, Bitesize Biographies, and especially Mr. Hannula for this valuable contribution.


Book Details:


  • Author: Richard M. Hannula
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • Page Count:


  • ISBN#: 9781783970186

  • List Price: $10.99

About the Author:

Richard Hannula lives in Tacoma, Washington, USA, where he serves as the principal of Covenant High School and is an elder in a Presbyterian Church of America congregation. He is the author of Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History, and of the Bitesize Biography on Hugh Latimer.

Where to Buy:

EP Books



Disclaimer: I received this book from EP Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Biography, EP Books, Reviews
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  1. November 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm

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